An unedited first draft text from forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid
- 1 Law Two: The Law of One Love: Outrageous Love is the One Love
- 2 Insight Two:
- 3 The Action:
- 4 Step Three:
- 5 Law Three: Outrageous Love is Evolutionary Eros: Eros is Desire.
- 6 Insight Three:
- 7 The Action:
- 8 On the Nature of Eros
- 9 Eros and Pseudo Eros
- 10 Iris Benrubi & Marc Gafni at the Passion and Intimacy Summit 2015: Outrageous Love
Law Two: The Law of One Love: Outrageous Love is the One Love
Ordinary love is a human sentiment. Outrageous Love is not a mere sentiment, it is the very heart of existence itself. Outrageous Love is not a purely personal human experience. Outrageous Love is the inner core of reality and the driving force of evolution. The Universe feels and the Universe feels love. Outrageous love is the One Love in which all other love is sourced.
Awakening to One Love. Awakening to Your Inner Outrageous Lover; Sourcing your Love in One Love which is Outrageous Love. Sourcing your Love in the Love which is your Source.
Ordinary Love is a human sentiment. Outrageous Love is not merely a human sentiment but the very heart of existence itself
We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. We have shared this sentence with a thousand audiences around the world from diverse cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic strata. It always moves something deep in the space and awakens the room to a new possibility. It is the possibility for you to awaken as an outrageous lover.
Even though the listener is not yet clear what it means, the energy of the sentence awakens the sacred thrill of possibility. The outrageous love manifesto is about why these simple words are the single most powerful two sentences that we can deploy in order to evolve our consciousness and transform our lives and our planet, at this particular moment in history.
In the old great books on spirit there would be a single verse or a sutra, which began the book. These might be called sacred sentences. The rest of the book would be a profound explanation and meditation on that core sentence. In a similar manner this entire book will be an explanation of these transformative sacred sentences. When these words land in a room there is an intuitive though still inchoate feeling in the room that outrageous love points to a deeper reality than the ordinary emotion with which we usually associate love. We have talked law one about the consciousness that is evoked by the words Outrageous Pain. Now we turn to the words Outrageous Love.
Ordinary love is weak and highly circumscribed. Virtually everyone closes their heart. We limit our love. Our love lists are very short. They are limited to our close circle of intimates. And even in these close circles where we open our hearts, something in the love itself still remains closed. The love feels contracted and broken in some profound way. It certainly does not feel outrageous. Why is this so?
Spiritual teachers like the Buddha, Lao Tse and others have long taught us that we close our hearts because we are trapped in the contractions of ego. People get lost in their narcissistic self-absorption. People need to awaken into the One we are told. There is some great wisdom in this. But people are naturally much better than that. We are not natural narcissists. Our true nature is spacious and free with our hearts wide open. The primary reason we close our hearts is because we have experienced outrageous pain in our lives. Part of our outrageous pain comes from personal wounds. But an even larger part of our outrageous pain comes from collective trauma, the wounds we see all around us. Mass suffering. Sometimes our outrageous pain is conscious. More often than not it is unconscious. The pain seethes beneath the surface of our ordinary and ordered lives. Ordinary love cannot hold or transform outrageous pain. Outrageous Love is source itself. Only Outrageous Love can hold and transform outrageous pain.
We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love. But at this early point we first turn directly the core question. What is Outrageous Love? What is the difference between ordinary love and Outrageous Love? We have engaged this issue in depth in the introductory chapters but we will revisit the core distinctions in the context of the laws of love.
Ordinary Love: At the level ego self you can only access ordinary love. This is the love that seeks ego-centric security and comfort. It is the love that lives in the limited confines of your personality. Your personality might also be referred to as your ego self or your separate self. Your separate self is conditioned by your social, psychological and cultural contexts. Ordinary love is weak precisely because it is sourced in the separate self of a single individual. It is not bad. It is simply limited. When you evolve beyond your exclusive identification with ego self to true self you begin to be in contact with the larger field of existence. You realize that your true nature is your true self which is the one self in which we all participate. An exterior physical manifestation of this largest context of One Self has been called the Zero point field in physics. Another exterior expression of the dynamic nature of the One Self is what the cosmologists at the Santa Fe Institute referred to as the fifth force of the universe. But seen from the interior this fifth force and zero point quantum field are the urgency of Eros, and the field of outrageous love.
When you awaken to Outrageous Love, the field becomes alive and active in your personally. You awaken as in irreducibly unique expression of the outrageous love intelligence. Unique Self, which we will unfold in law three, is the portal to Outrageous Love.
Outrageous Love: There is only one heart and one love. This is the love that is source itself. Bengali mystic Tagore said, “Love is not mere sentiment, it is the ultimate truth at the heart of creation.” The ancient Shamans would say to a person before a journey of awakening, “may you find your heart in this journey and may you discover that your heart is the one heart.” The great philosopher of science Alfred North Whitehead referred to evolution as “the gentle movement towards God by the gentle persuasion of love.” Christian mystic Dante talked about “the love that moves the sun and the stars.”
All of them were pointing to the truth of what we are calling Outrageous Love. They were pointing to two different dimension of outrageous love. Outrageous love is both the ground of being and the motive force of becoming. Being and becoming refer to two different dimension of all-that-is.
Being is the underlying eternal ground of existence that lives beneath the flux and turbulence of reality. It may be imaged by the silent depths of the ocean floor as contrasted with the storming wave of the surface. Neuroscience has documented the effectiveness of meditation which is a way of accessing this eternal and spacious ground. It is characterized by a sense of absolute freedom, expanse and often is described as silence. Sitting in silence is one of the ways to access the ground of being. There is an urge to merge with the ground of being which lives strongly in every human being. This is often expressed as the need for deep rest, peace and tranquility.
The quality of becoming is very different. Becoming is dynamic flux and turbulence, creative tension and constant transformation. It is characterized not by the urge to merge but by the urge to emerge. Its auditory quality is not silence but raucous tumult and transformative noise. Its interior feeling is not spacious peace but some combination of ecstasy and urgency, what one might call ecstatic urgency.
When Tagore points to what we are calling outrageous love as the core quality of the interior face of the cosmos he is referring to love as the ground of existence itself. The inner nature of eternity and being is outrageous love. When Dante and Whitehead refer to what we have termed outrageous love they are pointing towards the quality of dynamic evolutionary quality of becoming. The nature of emergence and becoming is outrageous love. These are the two tastes of essence, being and becoming. Both partake of outrageous love.
Outrageous Love is not the pallid strategy for ego security that so often masquerades as love. We have referred to that form of ego love as ordinary love. Outrageous love is source itself. The same love that moves you to make contact and connect with other is the love that moves the sun and the stars. It is the love that moves quarks to become atoms and atoms to become molecules. It is the evolutionary love, that initiated the big bang and that both drives and animates all of existence. When you awaken to a lived experience of this knowing you begin to be able to access Outrageous love as the core aliveness and motive power of your life. It is outrageous love that poet Dylan Thomas points towards when he evokes “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower, Drives my green age, the force that drives the water through the rocks, Drives my red blood.”
Another name for Outrageous Love is what the mystics called Source. When we access the source, we are capable of love in any and all situations. We are able to live fully alive and radically empowered in every dimension of our lives. In other words, we become capable of Outrageous Love.
Open any book on love and you will find the same answer to the question of “What is Love?” “Love is an emotion.” Moreover love is considered to be a human emotion. Love is understood to be a human emotional experience in reaction to some form of outside stimuli, person, place, idea or thing. However this is precisely wrong on all three levels. Love at its core is not merely an emotion, it is not merely human and it is not merely a reaction.
Ordinary love is a human emotion and a reaction, whereas Outrageous Love is source itself. Ordinary Love is merely a reactive emotion. Outrageous love is not a reaction at all. It is the action of perceiving. A ball hits the wall. In reaction to the impact the ball bounces off the wall. Very quickly however the energy of the reaction peters out. The ball ceases its motion. An emotion is energy in motion, in reaction to outside stimuli. Because it is in reaction, the emotion, energy in motion, comes to a rest. Ordinary Love inevitably withers and dies. That is simply its nature. The feeling and the power that derive from Ordinary love never last.
Outrageous Love is at core a perception and not an emotion. Perception is a capacity of consciousness that only deepens over time if we keep cleansing our doors of perception. Instead of love growing stale and eventually disappearing which is the inevitable trajectory of ordinary love, Outrageous love invites us to a path where love grows ever more powerful, passionate, vital and erotic in the fullness of time. It is only Outrageous Love which has the sustaining power to transform our personal lives.
Outrageous Love is not the dogma of a particular religion. It is not the belief of a specific spiritual form. It is a fully accessible lived truth. Like all great truths it is revealed through scientific experiment. In the introductory chapters we talked about the distinction between dogma and dharma and how science works. You do an experiment. You produce a result. You repeat the experiment and produce the result again. You then have people, who do not know each other, what science calls double blind conditions, consistently repeat the same experiment. You check to see if they all get the same results. You then check your experimental process and its results with the greatest experts in that field of knowledge. If it is all confirmed you have produced genuine knowledge. This is true in the fields of physics, chemistry, calculus and pretty much all of the great fields of study that make up modern scientific knowledge.
This is true however both in what we might call the physics of outer space and in the physics of the inner space. Both inner and outer space have their own nature and natural laws and both are revealed through experimentation. We know that outrageous love is the inner nature of the reality because great experiments in spirituality have been conducted by the most subtle and speculative heart-minds that ever lived for thousands of years. They used empirical experimental methods to reveal their truth. These methods included rigorous sustained Zen meditation, Kabbalistic practice, Christian mystical prayer, sacred ceremony, Shamanic ritual, the practice of the prophets and masters in all the generations and much more. They did not know each other.
In the last one hundred years or so we have gathered the results from all these experiments. They all came to the same scientific conclusion. The interior face of the cosmos is love. The universe feels and the Universe feels love. Not ordinary love which is an interpersonal emotion between human beings. But Outrageous Love which is the love that moves all of reality to higher and higher levels of contact. The same love that moves you to reach beyond your loneliness to make contact with another being is the love that moves the sun and the stars. These key distinctions between ordinary and Outrageous Love, critically empower your awakening as an outrageous lover.
The good news is this. Human beings can access Outrageous Love. You can move beyond weak, sentimental ordinary love, which is limited by your social, cultural and psychological conditioning. You can access Outrageous Love as the motive force in your life. You can awaken to your true nature as an Outrageous Lover. This is what it means to align with your true nature and to awaken to your essence. There is a direct transformative practice, which will take you there. This is the writing of Outrageous Love Letters. The Outrageous Love Process, the path and practice of writing Outrageous Love letters. We will unfold this practice in law five.
Outrageous Love is the Evolutionary Eros, the Universal force of desire, allurement and transformation. To awaken as outrageous love is to awaken as the evolutionary impulse.
Law Three: Outrageous Love is Evolutionary Eros: Eros is Desire.
Your deepest desire is evolution’s desire. At the root of all your desire is the will to make contact, grow and transform. Attraction is the inner mechanism of Evolution. Evolution is the emergence of higher and deeper levels of connection, growth and transformation. Outrageous Love is the initiating and animating Eros of all that is.
To understand what it means to awaken as Outrageous Love we want must understand what I will call the law of one love and evolution. This law might also be called the law of desire. This is the third law of outrageous love. The first dimension of this law is that reality is moving in a direction. Reality desires. Desire moves towards a desired result or object. Reality evolves. This law picks up not on the eternal taste of being but on the evolutionary taste of becoming.
The essence of the third law has three distinct dimensions. The first that the motive force of evolution is outrageous love. Some of the early thinkers like the meta-theorist Charles Pierce, who identified this quality and referred to it as evolutionary love. This is the love that is the motive force of evolution. This is the Eros or what the cosmologists sometimes referred to as the fifth force that drives the entire process. Beside the four classical forces of reality, the gravitational, electromagnetic, nuclear and the strong and the weak there is a fifth force, a universal initiating and driving Eros, what we have called Outrageous love. The second dimension of the third laws is the evolution of love itself. Not only does outrageous or evolutionary love drive the process but the process itself is the evolution of love.
Love itself is not merely an eternal quality of being but a dynamic and therefore evolving property of becoming. The movement from absolute dictatorship by the king invested with divine authority to democratic government is for example a clear example of the evolution of love. More people are cared for, recognized and honored in a democracy than is even imaginable under an absolute dictatorship. That higher level of love is not capricious. It is not based on the whim of the ruler. Rather this more evolved version of love is written into the system itself.
Outrageous Love is identified not merely as an interpersonal human sentiment but as the ultimate truth at the heart of reality. Outrageous love is the initiating and animating Eros of all that is. It is the evolutionary Eros itself. Said differently, desire is the initiating force of evolution itself. Love is sometimes too tepid a word. Love which marries Eros and desire is what we mean by Outrageous Love. The basic realization emergent from the integration of mysticism, emergence theory, supported by the leading edge of object relations theory and social anthropology, is that Evolution is Love in Action. The Eros of evolution is the love intelligence and love beauty at the heart of reality itself.
Some evolutionary mystics referred to the quality that we are calling outrageous love as Teshuka which might be loosely translated from the Hebrew as desire. This refers not to superficial desire but to the desire, which lies at the heart of reality. Paradoxically however all superficial desires when traced back to their source are revealed to be expression of the One Love, Eros or Desire itself. When you ask yourself not only what you want, but also what do you want by wanting what you want, the answer is almost always want or desire itself. You want to experience the fullness of being alive which comes together with want and desire.
In this sense the movement of Evolution is the movement of desire itself. From this perspective we sometimes refer to the law of One Love and Evolution as the law of desire.
Outrageous love as the core expression of spirit is very different then what Spinoza referred to as a “mythological external god demanding obedience.” Rather outrageous love both initiates and animates our evolving, intelligent elegant universe.
This law is also sometimes called the law of desire. The first dimension of this law is that reality is moving in a direction. Reality desires. Desire moves towards a desired result or object. Reality evolves. Reality desires.
The second dimension of this law is that the motive force of evolution is Eros or what we have called Outrageous love.
Said simply reality has both Telos, direction and desire as well as Eros, an awakened quality of radical creativity and aliveness. The third law of love states therefore that we live in what might accurately call, a telerotic universe. Outrageous love is the initiating and animating Eros of all that is. It is the evolutionary Eros itself. Said differently, desire is the initiating force of evolution itself. Eros is identified not merely as an interpersonal human attraction but as the ultimate truth at the heart of reality. It is evolutionary impulse itself.
Love is sometimes too tepid a word. Love includes Eros and desire. That is what we mean by Outrageous Love. Outrageous love is not pallid polite or conceptual or intellectual. Outrageous love is dripping, pulsing and demanding. It is characterized both by spaciousness and freedom as well as by ecstatic urgency. In this sense the movement of Evolution if the movement of desire itself.
Awaken to the recognition that your root desire is evolutionary desire. At your core you are Love in Action.
The new reality fact that we did not know just a very short time ago – that reality evolves – is the change that changes everything. We are living in a particular time in history, we’re living at the beginning of the 21st century. We’re living at a time where the whole idea of evolution, which is largely synonymous with creativity and transformation is changing the way we think about our role in the cosmos in the most fundamental of ways. .
Science is revealing to all of us unequivocally that we all have been created by an evolutionary process. It had a beginning in time. It’s a process that’s definitely going somewhere.
This is the good news–that liberates us and sets us free when we embrace an evolutionary worldview. This is the truly good and liberating news: We are part and parcel of a process that had a beginning and is definitely going somewhere.
The whole notion that we’re actually going somewhere is a new idea for most people. The realization that the universe is not a static place, that the cultural context that we emerged with is not static, is a dawning awareness whose full revolutionary implications need to consciously assimilated.
Even though many educated people are aware of the fact that we’re part of an evolutionary, developmental creative process that’s going somewhere, that information, for most of us, hasn’t truly been internalized.
Most of us are seeing our own experience and seeing the world around us within a lens that doesn’t really appreciate, that each moment is revealing or giving rise to an opportunity for creative advance, what Whitehead famously called the creative advance of novelty. This was for Whitehead as well as for the mainstream of evolution science, a defining characteristic of reality. In my own understanding of this truth, I find myself in a state of ever-deepening appreciation about the significance of that fact.
The ego or the Separate Self tends to see its own inner experience in the world from the perspective of being trapped in a static place, a static inner psychological space, and a static worldspace.
Even if we may technically know that the Kosmos is in motion, our psychological orientation in relationship to our personal experience, and also in the way we see the world, is that we tend to project the outdated perspective of unchanging or static on the world around us.
When we know that we are part of a process that’s going somewhere, the most exciting thing we can possibly do is to get with the program or the process that has created us.
We need to begin to interpret our own personal human experience in the context of cultural evolution. The first step in doing that to really embrace at a very deep level the profound fact that we’re part of a process that’s going somewhere.
And I think that the step that I think needs to be taken, the most exciting and the most spiritually and culturally relevant step that needs to be taken is for all of us as individuals to step out of the position. We need to move beyond the classic spiritual position in which we are the witness we assume as the observer, as the mere passive observer of experience, of our inner experience, of what’s happening within our own inner psychological worldspace and what’s happening in the world around us. We need to really to step into the process that’s going somewhere.
If we are going to step into a process that’s going somewhere, we, in a sense, have to get going.
The place we have to get going from is at the deepest level of our being and becoming. For most of us our experience of consciousness is localized at a particular place, within a particular body-mind form, personality space. Though we see ourselves moving in the realm of time and space and place and location, inwardly the psychological and psychic space of location that we tend to see the world from, is often one that is perceived as being static.
When we really awaken to the realization that the process is going somewhere – through deep and profound contemplation and spiritual practice – what happens is that we will fall out of this static position. We begin to actually consciously embrace, surrender, accept and literally begin to embody that evolutionary movement that we were merely bearing witness to as separate from self. We move from identification with the separate self to identification with the evolutionary impulse itself awakening
This is what we might call evolutionary mysticism. At the core of it is the embracing the evolutionary Eros – primordial creative drive or force in the universe as the essence of my identity. It is this embrace that sets us free.
All of manifestation emerged in the great flaring forth that has become the creative process. The evolutionary process is the creative process. In the deepest understanding of the greatest realizers in human history, from Plotinus, to the Vedic Sages to the Kabbalists, this creative process is motivated by source. Source self-limits its infinite nature into matter. Then it gradually evolves from matter to body. Life emerges out of matter. From life emerges mind. With mind and thought, come this ever-evolving and ever greater capacity for interiority, self-reflectivity. And with self-reflections come the great gift for each and every one of us, a measure of freedom, and more precisely a measure of freedom to choose. The greatest gift that we’ve all been given, by the evolving universe, is a measure of freedom to choose.
As we evolve culturally from traditional to modern to postmodern, through Integral stages of consciousness and cognition we begin to gain a capacity to see all of our human experience and all of the experience that’s happening in the world process around us, as being part of a Kosmic process of unfolding. We gain the capacity to see all of that, every aspect of our inner and outer experience, everything that’s happening in all its totality from the perspective of the process. We begin to see this is all one process. It’s one Kosmic process that we’re actually bearing witness to and participating in at the leading edge.
As we’re bearing witness to process, which is unbelievably enlightening, it begins to dawn on us that as we awaken beyond our social, cultural and psychological conditioning, we have a degree of freedom to choose. We begin to realize that actualizing the measure of freedom to choose becomes potentially the ultimate act of creativity. , of our power to create for the individual. This expresses itself in two ways. First it our choice manifests as self-creation, the transformative process of self-realization and awakening when we begin to choose beyond the limits of our old patterns and wounds. Second we awaken as the leading edge of the cosmos, as outrageous love itself, choosing for every higher levels of love, care and commitment.
And so what begins to happen then is that we awaken to a new level of insight. We begin to appreciate – and I think I can say this – the inherently sacred significance of the fact that the creative process has given us a measure of freedom to choose. We are dazzled by the realization , that in ever more consciously exercising that measure of freedom to choose, we find ourselves coming closer and closer to the – to put it in theological terms – you could say the creator, or we could say the energy and intelligence that initiated and animates the universe.
When we talk about God in evolutionary mysticism we are knowing God as the energy and intelligence that created the universe- and remember the God you do not believe in does not exist. That simply means that we’re not referring to any kind of mythical notions of a spiritual being that exists only outside or beyond the process. – When we begin to see from the perspective of process – that is to say the energy and intelligence that initiated this process that’s going somewhere, we are seeing from God’s perspective.
As we liberate our own consciousness from unconscious identification with biological drives, survival drives, cultural perspectives and values that are no longer relevant, we liberate and cultivate our own capacity to make choices that express ever and ever greater freedom. We begin to understand then that the energy and intelligence that initiated and animates the universe or God or that one without a second, is gaining – through our own developing and increasing measure of freedom. The energy and intelligence is gaining a more profound ability to affect the creative process through our own individual choices and actions here in the world around us.
As human beings are liberated from a fundamentally survival orientation in relationship to life and to the human experience, the capacity for evolution or conscious creativity is why we’re here. This becomes a self-evident truth of awakened experience.
It begins to dawn on us that we’re not merely here to mate and to procreate. We are here to co-create. As culture has evolved, as these basic survival needs are being met for more and more human beings met, we begin to identity more and more with the evolutionary or creative impulse or dynamic that has been the engine that’s given rise to culture. We awaken to the certain knowing that this evolutionary creative drive, the drive towards innovation exists in and as us. This is the drive to emergence.
Emergence is one of my favorite words, because emergence points to the miracle that greater complexity emerges from lesser complexity. A completely new whole emerges which is vastly greater and deeper than the sum of its parts.
Nobody seems to be able to explain how such a miracle can happen. How can that which is more complex arise out of that which is less complex? How does emergence emerge?
Everywhere from the gross level of matter to the most subtle movement of highly evolved consciousness, there is a movement, an Eros – which is a movement or an energetic drive towards emergence.
When we liberate ourselves at least to some limited degree from unconscious drives and life motives –motives that are fundamentally materialistic, motives for acquisition, or motives that about the glorification of the self or narcissistic motives we find that there is a mysterious tug or pull of a higher motive that drives us to participate in the human experience.
That tug is to create the conditions within us, and hopefully within us and around us, that we will actually be able to become creative engines in which and through which the energy and intelligence that created the universe can give rise to potentials that never existed before. This is the evolutionary or creative motivation to give rise to that which never existed before.
This happens when we awaken beyond the compulsion of fundamental survival materialistic or narcissistic motivations. To that precise degree we become free and therefore alive and are delighted by our ability to give rise to potentials that never existed before.
To the precise degree that we wake up and get free will be the degree that the energy and intelligence that created the universe leave its mark through our existence, through our presence here in this world in the course of our individual lives. .
To the degree to which we have liberated ourselves so that the creative process can flower and flow freely and profoundly in and through us in such a way that will actually have results, will have a real effect on the world process, on culture, and ultimately in the Kosmos as a whole, to that precise degree do our lives taken on super charged meaning and Eros. It is the radical commitment to that degree of liberation which is the hallmark of the outrageous lover.
The outrageous love realizes that I am the energy and intelligence that created the universe. I am here to create the universe, not merely to preserve it, but to create it. Creativity in this case means giving rise to that which is new, to that which never existed before. This is a critically new source of spiritual self-confidence, a source of confidence in really being alive which is so needed at a time in the world process that is existentially confusing and it can be frightening and overwhelming.
A lot of people really aren’t really sure exactly how to come to terms with the ever greater complexity that the world process seems to be manifesting. How do we deal with the speed of information and the growth of our population and the global threats that confront us? It can be very overwhelming and also quite intimidating.
So awakening to this motivation that’s inherently creative, awakening to this evolutionary impulse or creative impulse, becoming conscious of the energy and intelligence that created the universe, we realize that its nature, which is our own true nature as this creative drive, this Eros is overwhelming, ecstatic positivity.
This creative erotic evolutionary impulse is not an abstract idea. We find it in our first person experience all the time. At the first level it appears as the sexual impulse, as the biological imperative to both make contact and to procreate. The scientists ask for the technical information on how the universe works. The mystics want to know how the universe feels. How do the energy and intelligence that created the universe feel? The first place to experience how God feels, to feel the evolutionary Eros of the cosmos, the ecstatic evolutionary impulse is in the sexual impulse, the drive to make contact and the biological command to procreate. What does it feel like? It feels like ecstatic urgency, ecstasy and urgency.
At the next level, locate this evolutionary creative impulse, this Eros in the mysterious human drive, compulsion to innovate, to give rise to that which is new. Human beings as a species are driven, at an ever greater speed and intensity, to give rise to that which is new. We’re driven, and the nature of the drive towards innovation, the inner feeling of this drive is an ecstatic urgency.
At an even deeper level there is a drive towards transformation. This includes at its core a drive towards, consciousness, towards greater interiority. All great spiritual heroes throughout history were men and women who were driven, to awaken at a level of consciousness. What was driving them, it was that same ecstatic urgency.
The nature of that ecstatic urgency is one big Yes. Outrageous love is always screaming Yes!
When we realize that the nature of Eros, the nature of the energy and intelligence that created the universe is one big Yes, is one big affirmation which is shouting Yes as it creates, it’s a source of enormous relief and spiritual self-confidence. We awaken as outrageous love when we realize that what’s driving this entire process is overwhelmingly positive.
It doesn’t mean that everything that happens within the process is positive. As we all know evolution meanders, our negative choices impact the process and catalyze all kinds of wrong turns in the Kosmos as a whole. We even know that some galaxies fall out of formation and stop evolving, and we know that there are all kinds of natural disasters within nature, and we know that in human cultural history there have been and continue to be horrendous falling back to primitive and dark motives.
But when we realize that overall arc of the process is the evolution of love, that real development, is occurring in ever quadrant of reality then we are overwhelmed and overjoyed. . That is when we shout out YES.
On the Nature of Eros
Eros has four major qualities.
Eros is the experience of being on the inside and not on the surface.
Eros is the experience of fullness of presence.
Eros is the inner experience of the yearning force of being. This is the evolutionary Eros or desire that we referred to above.
Eros is the experience of wholeness. It is the direct knowing of the interconnectivity of the all with the all. Every part is a whole unto itself and part of a larger whole at the same time. Nothing is separate or apart. Everything lives within a larger context. In the original Hebrew the word Yichud, connotes both absolute individuality and absolute unity. The realization of mystical knowledge is called Sod Ha-Yichud. Literally this phrase is usually translated as the “secret of unification.” It implies however something more subtle and stunning than a kind of mystical absorption. It suggests the absolutely paradoxical identity between distinction and oneness. The part and the whole are one. More than that, the part yearns for the whole even as the whole yearns for the part. This is the interior pathos of the universe who exterior structures are described so elegantly in general systems and chaos theory. Nothing is apart. Every part, everything and everyone is nourished from and contributes to, the field of outrageous Love.
Eros and Pseudo Eros
One of the core qualities of Eros to which we alluded above, is fullness of presence. Presence is the opposite of emptiness. Emptiness is an interior quality of being that we all recognize. There is no one among us who has escaped the meeting with emptiness. Emptiness is the experience of being in the hole. It is the feeling that in some essential way you are not whole. It would not be mere exaggeration to suggest that “life is what you do with your emptiness.” Life is what we do when we are in the hole.
Denying our emptiness is a primary strategy for coping with it. We buy, buy, buy hoping the hawked elixirs might finally fill us and yet the emptiness lingers.
This is the great paradox of emptiness. Sadly, in our society human beings are defined as consumers and not lovers.
The first way to approach emptiness is must be not to fill it but to simply be mindful of it. Just sit in the hole. Paradoxically you can only access the fullness of being if you are willing to stay in the emptiness long enough to find your way. The path to Eros is filled with detours to pseudo Eros, but they are all dead ends. When we are so desperate for fullness, when the emptiness hurts too much, these detours seduce us off the path, often spinning us to painful places where we never wanted to go. We cannot bear the emptiness. We cannot stay in the hole and wait for it to fill with the natural fullness of our own Eros. The pain is too great to bear. So we move to fill the hole with all sorts of detours, which take us away not only from our destination but from our destiny.
Addiction is, at its root, the inability to stay in the emptiness. So we rush to fill the emptiness with whatever gives us the quickest hit of pseudo Eros. Pseudo Eros is virtually always addictive. Pseudo Eros has many disguises—unconscious sex, food we do not want to be eating, mindless gossip, superficial pubic acclaim, bad drugs, addictive work, all of these pretend to fill our emptiness but never sate us. Ordinary love is pseudo Eros, Outrageous Love is Eros.
Eros moves all of reality. Eros is the movement to higher and deeper levels of mutuality, recognition, union and embrace. We refer to this as the evolution of love.
Some leading edge thinkers have talked about the gradual emergence of an empathic civilization. Society moves through its different structure stages of consciousness to higher and higher degrees of empathy. The great Hebrew mystics, followed by the German idealists and then by meta-theorists like Charles Randall Peirce traced evolution’s purpose as the gradual emergence of higher and deeper levels of the good, the true and the beautiful.
Jean Gebser’s life work is about showing from the beginning of human life we have moved gradually but clearly to higher and higher levels of care and connection. Literally dozens of developmental thinkers have traced different dimensions of this evolutionary trajectory of love. It is not that it is a straight line.
As Michael Murphy likes to say, evolution meanders. But the telos is clear. The simplest way to say it is in showing the movement from more and more expanded circles of felt love and concern to which we referred to briefly above.
Society begins with dawn man’s egocentric consciousness. That means really simply that the felt sense of care and concern is for me and my people. My people might include my woman or women (as was more often the case for Neanderthal man) and for the small clan. These were my survival band.
As evolution continued a new consciousness was born. This might be called ethno- or socio-centric consciousness. This means that I have an actual felt sense of love, of care and concern and connection not only to my immediate survival clan but to my larger tribe or people. This is a big leap forward. My circle of love has expanded. Love itself has evolved its nature. It is no longer limited to your survival group. What this means is that the nation or tribe feels responsible to care for its members. This might express itself in providing food and shelter for its members. It might express itself in empathetic interest in the lives of its members. It might express itself in the willingness to sacrifice even life itself for the sake of the safety and continuity of the tribe. In their healthy form these are noble expression of love.
All love like every other qualities and experiences can be distorted and appear in shadow form. Love of a parent to child for example when it crosses boundaries into the sexual is destructive and shadow form of egocentric love. Love that expresses itself as a mafia like loyalty to brothers in murder and mayhem is a twisted egocentric love. Love that says that when you are not part of my tribe you are not deserving of love and are deserving of God’s wrath are twisted forms of ethnocentric love.
But when love evolves in its natural, whole and healthy forms the Telos of reality is fulfilled and the Eros of existence is deepened. Part of the nature of Eros is Telos. Eros means the fullness of interconnectivity, mutuality, aliveness, and embrace. Telos means moving in a direction. Telos engenders Eros. When you are going somewhere there is a part of you which feels more alive. Your steps quickens, a palpable excitement arises in your heart. You feel clear, confident and energized. The ecstatic urgency of becoming enlivens you. Eros is deepened by telos. The universe is not only alive. It is going somewhere. And its Telos makes it more erotic.
The next unfolding in the evolution of love along this particular line of development is the move from ethno-centric to world-centric consciousness. In this evolutionary movement you awaken to a felt sense of love and care for all human beings on the planet. This consciousness is very recent in the world. Its sources are as old as the bible which makes the revolutionary assertion that every human being is formed in the image of God.
This was a momentous revolution in consciousness which introduced the felt sense of universal human solidarity into the world. It was radically ahead of the tribal center of gravity which dominated consciousness at that time. This world-centric sense did not begin to have global impact beyond a miniscule elite until the twentieth century. It is still not the primary mode of consciousness on the planet with up to seventy percent of the world still being defined by some of the shadow of ethnocentric consciousness. But love has clearly evolved. There are many hundreds of millions of people on the planet, possibly up to two billion who have powerful world-centric consciousness. In a recent public dialogue our dialogue partner talked nobly about “saving American lives.” A visible shudder went through the auditorium. The idea that American lives were somehow more valuable or more lovable than other lives violated the core consciousness of the crowd.
A fourth evolution of love is the movement from world-centric to cosmo-centric consciousness. This means that your felt sense of love and concern is not only for all human beings but for all sentient being. And then as your cosmo-centric consciousness expands you realize that the split between sentience and non-sentience is artificial. In a profound sense we are locating in a sentient–that is to say–a living universe. All of reality is governed by the intelligent laws of mathematics and physics. All of reality self-organizes and moves towards higher and higher levels of complexity. All of reality is in the constant dynamic motion of evolution and new creative emergences. The experience of love and concern for all of reality is the lived experience of cosmo-centric consciousness. This is but one of the myriad pathways of the evolution of love. Outrageous Love is not merely eternal as the old poets suggest. Outrageous Love is evolutionary.
 The Hebrew mystics are for the most part what Ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen and myself termed proto-evolutionary. The three of us had a wonderful long private dialogue in 2011 on the relationship between Kabbalah (Hebrew mysticism) and evolutionary thought. I shared text after text with them of kabbalists who were speaking in clear evolutionary terms which included the evolution of the manifest God. Ken was surprised and disappointed that this key strain did not show up in Huston Smith’s seminal work on the great religions. It is however also true that biological evolution in the classic Wallace and Darwin sense was unknown to the earlier Hebrew mystics. In this sense we are therefore calling them proto-evolutionary.
 And of course other elements of the biblical narrative participate fully in the tribal level of consciousness.
Iris Benrubi & Marc Gafni at the Passion and Intimacy Summit 2015: Outrageous Love
After the interview, Iris wrote:
Marc Gafni is brilliant. He is a visionary thinker and wisdom teacher that shares on this magnificent interview what love is really about and how you can create something outstanding with your partner…..and he calls it Outrageous Love. You learn the 3 Mistakes people make in love and gives us strategies we can begin right now to create more love and more passion in our lives ….and I’ve already started one of his strategies and I love the difference it’s made in my life.
Some of what you’ll learn is:
- The relationship between love, romance and infatuation
- How outrageous love is different than ordinary love
- What loneliness is truly about and what you can learn from it
- The abundant love that’s available to you if you’re open to it…… and how to get it!
- What the 2nd chapter in the book of Genesis says about love
- What your “soul print” is and it’s purpose
Watch the video interview: